Incoming freshman class ranks behind Class of 2018 in test scores, diversity

The UConn Class of 2019 spells out "UCONN" on freshmen move-in day. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

For the first time in recent years, UConn’s newest incoming freshman class lagged behind its immediate predecessor in test scores and diversity, according a university news release Thursday.

While UConn admitted approximately 3,800 students to the Storrs campus – its largest class ever – the number of valedictorians and salutatorians, average SAT scores and percentage of minority students admitted all fell short of the previous year’s highs, news releases from August 2014 and Thursday showed.

“In evaluating the quality of UConn’s applicant pool, we look at trends over time rather than putting too much stock into a dip or increase from one year to the next,” university spokesperson Stephanie Reitz said. “What’s especially pleasing about this year’s average score is that it’s high while, at the same time, our enrollment is higher. Not only do more students want to come to UConn, but they’re among the brightest out there.”

Last year the university set all-time highs in combined math and verbal SAT score averages, number of valedictorians and salutatorians admitted and percentage of minority groups admitted, according to an August 2014 news release.

More than 34,000 high school students applied to UConn and its branch campuses, and approximately 3,800 are arriving in Storrs this weekend to begin classes on Monday – besting 2014’s more than 3,600 new freshmen, news releases in August 2014, February 2015 and Thursday showed.

With an increase in the total number of students admitted, the previous year’s averages were not sustained.

Most notably, the number of valedictorians and salutatorians choosing to attend UConn dropped more than 14 percent, from 169 in the Class of 2018 to 145 in the Class of 2019. This is still up substantially from just 40 valedictorians and salutatorians arriving in Storrs in 1995, according to Thursday’s news release.

Average combined verbal and math SAT test scores for the Class of 2019 came in one point below the Class of 2018, dropping from 1234 to 1233. Despite the marginal decrease, the university’s upward trend over the last 20 years is still evident, with the Class of 1999’s average score of 1028 sitting more than 200 points below this year’s admitted students, Thursday’s news release said.

The percentage of minority groups also remained relatively stable, though it did also decrease, falling from 33.8 percent last year to 32 percent this year. However, this year’s percentage remains significantly higher than the 27 percent admitted two years ago, according to an August 2014 news release.

“Offering a diverse, dynamic college community is a priority of any good university, and UConn is no different,” Reitz said. “We believe this should be a campus where people learn from each other’s experiences and backgrounds, and appreciate and respect the diversity that the world has to offer.”

The university also announced its honors program expanded in size for yet another year, increasing from 505 students enrolled in the Class of 2018 to 535 in the Class of 2019. Students admitted into honors averaged a 1405 combined math and verbal SAT score, August 2014 and Thursday’s news releases showed.

While the university continues to make improvements to its honors program, other top-25 public universities remain ahead of UConn statistically. 

The University of Georgia, which is ranked No. 21 among public universities by U.S. News and World Report, requires all honors students to have at least a 1400 combined math and verbal SAT score when applying. Its incoming freshman class has an average score of 1465, according to the UGA Honors website. UConn, which is ranked No. 19, has no such requirement and regularly admits students into honors program with scores below 1400.


Kyle Constable is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at kyle.constable@uconn.edu. He tweets @KyleConstable.